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YEAR: 1981 or 1982
COUNTY: Pasco County
NEAREST TOWN: Port Richey, Florida
NEAREST ROAD: US 19
OBSERVED: This is an old sighting, having occurred around 1981 or 1982 in coastal Pasco County, Florida. I have not reported this for professional reasons, but now that I am retired, this is less of a concern. At the time, I was teaching an Oceanography class at the local community college. One evening of the week would be classroom lecture on campus and another evening would be lab or fieldwork at a science center operated by the school district. I was also director of the center. The center is located on an inlet of the Gulf of Mexico called Salt Spring Run, and surrounded by a typical upper west coast Florida Juncus-Spartina marsh with mangrove islands. After class, approximately 8:30 or 9:00 PM, I drove out of the gates of the center, got out to lock the gates, and then drove down the dirt access road to the center. As I came round a bend in the road, a creature stepped out of the vegetation onto the road. I stopped and stared at the creature, which was illuminated only by my headlights. It did not seem frightened and simply stared back at the car. We were about 40 – 50 feet apart. I had a chance to take a long hard look at the creature and tried to note everything I could. It was not a human, nor was it an emaciated bear. It had a simian face, flat nose (not a snout), and ears on the side of its head. It was slim, not heavily muscled, and was covered by grayish-brown hair or fur. The hair was not thick and bushy. It also stood only about 5.5 to 6 feet tall at most. I could see the entire body of the animal because it was out in the road. It was turned sideways to me and only its head turned in my direction. Because of the angle of view, I could not tell if it was male or female. I was not frightened by the thing because I was in an old Dodge station wagon I had at the time, which was a tank. Also, the creature did not seem agitated or aggressive, but simply wary. Eventually, the creature calmly walked across the road and into the salt marsh at the edge of the road. I got out of the car with a flashlight and tried to get another look at the animal. I sniffed and tried to detect any odor, but there was no odor. I never heard any vocalizations. I eventually drove home and told my wife, but did not share this with anyone else. Eventually, I told my sons, one of which encouraged me to make this report. At the time, I was not only sober, but also well rested. I was not sleep deprived, and had at least a full minute to look at the creature. I simply do not know what I was looking at. The closest thing to what it looked like would be one of those National Geographic artists renditions of what an early hominid looked like – not large, slim, a walk with knees slightly bent. The next morning I surveyed the area, but found no tracks. The road was hard-packed limerock and oyster shell and even shoe impressions weren’t left. Near where the creature entered the marsh is a small hammock with cabbage palm, saw palmetto, etc., and it may have been moving toward that. I found nothing in the hammock the next day.
OTHER WITNESSES: No.
OTHER STORIES: When I first came to the area, a local fisherman told me there had been several “Bigfoot” sightings on Old Post Road, but he attributed them to a homeless guy in an old black London Fog raincoat that often wandered in the area. I dismissed those reports at the time. Later I saw newspaper articles about sightings on Green Key Road, about 2 or 3 miles down the coast. I’m open to there being some other species of hominid possibly still around, however I don’t have any idea what I was looking at. It doesn’t fit the ‘typical’ Bigfoot description, although the pelt of what I saw would seem more suited to Florida’s hot and humid climate.
TIME AND CONDITIONS: Evening, around 8:30 or 9:00 PM.
ENVIRONMENT: The location is at the north end of Old Post Road in Port Richey, Florida just outside of Pasco School District’s Energy and Marine Center. The east side of the road is cabbage palm – pine – saw palmetto forest. The west side is high marsh habitat with glasswort, cotton bush, salt marsh aster, etc. Numerous hammocks dot the marsh. The animal was moving east to west. At the time, there was a lot of wildlife, and there was plenty of food in the marsh.
Follow-up investigation report by BFRO Investigator Cathy Betz:
I spoke to DB for about an hour. He worked at a local community college, and did fieldwork in that locale in the study of the biology and oceanography. He is very knowledgeable of the local wildlife, the flora, ecology and topography of the region.
When he spotted the creature crossing the road in front of him, he admitted to me that he didn’t know what he was looking at. But, being "science-minded", he told me that he wanted to observe it in an objective and unbiased manner.
DB was fairly certain that it was either in the fall or winter when he had his sighting. He was sure that it was totally dark. He saw the creature step into the road going from east to west, and since he was traveling south, he mostly observed the right side of the creature.
When he spotted the creature, it stopped directly in the middle of the road, and DB states that he could see it plainly in his headlights from approximately 40-50 feet away. He felt that the sighting lasted for a "long time", but in actuality, he admitted that it probably lasted about 20-40 seconds while his car idled.
His description of what he saw is as follows:
- It was about 5-1/2 to 6 feet tall. He estimated the weight at about 200 lbs.
- It had a "simian" face. It had no snout. Its eyes were dark. Its nose was "flattish" and slightly upturned. He could make out definite nostrils, and its ears on the side of its head.
- The creature was covered in "unkempt, matted, scraggly" hair that was possibly partially wet. The color of the hair was a ‘brownish-gray".
- The feet and hands were large. There were five "heavy" fingers on each hand, and the fingernails were dirty. DB stated that they "looked like they belonged to something that lived in the woods".
- It had long arms, but not disproportionately long.
- DB could not make out any overt gender characteristics. He stated that he thought that the creature was male, in that its hips were slim. It had no breasts, and its shoulders and chest were of the same proportions as that of a human. Overall, DB described the creature as being "slim" and "skinny".
- The head appeared to be the same shape of a human’s head except that it was sloped in the front, and that its forehead was broad. When it turned towards him, it appeared to turn its head at the neck although there appeared to be very little neck on the creature. "Its head looked like it sat directly on its shoulders".
- DB described the creature’s behavior as being "calm", and "non-aggressive". "It did not seem to be afraid of me, or my car. It just stood there, looking at me while I looked at it." DB stated that he felt that the creature was not young, but fully mature, by the way in which it behaved.
- When it finally began to walk away, DB describes the stride as fluid and unhurried. It walked with a slight bend in its knees. It remained on two legs during the entire encounter.
- After the creature walked into the marsh, DB stated that he exited his idling vehicle. He could not detect any unusual odors and could hear nothing unusual. "I thought I’d be able to hear it moving through the marsh, but I couldn’t hear anything."
- On examination the next day, DB could not find any tracks in the hard-packed limestone road, or any obvious signs in the nearby hammock where he thought the creature was heading.
"I really don’t know what I saw", admitted DB, "but do I know for sure that it wasn’t a bear, and that it wasn’t a human. Whatever it was, it looked like it belonged in the wild."
The area that the sighting occurred in consists of a vast and complex network of swamps, hammocks, fresh water springs, periodic woodlands, salt marshes and tidal estuaries. It extends for some hundreds of miles, north to south, and is rich in marine and terrestrial wildlife.
About BFRO Investigator Cathy Betz:
Cathy has been a nurse for over 27 years and currently works in a busy ICU. An amateur naturalist, Cathy has been intrigued by the bigfoot phenomenon from an early age.
Attended the following expeditions:
- The 2006 Florida Expedition
- The 2007 North Carolina Expedition
- The 2008 South Florida Expedition
- The 2008 North Florida Expedition
- The 2009 Central Florida Expedition
- The 2009 Utah Expedition
- The 2010 TN Survey Expedition
- The 2011 East Texas Expedition
-The 2012 North FL Expedition
-The 2013 Michigan Upper Peninsula Expedition
For more information, please see the Florida BFRO